The federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) that was established in 2010 by the Obama Administration is undergoing massive changes toward abstinence education, the Trump Administration announced on Friday. The program doles out funding to schools and individual communities to combat teen pregnancy with "comprehensive sex-education."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Obama-era program has been ineffective at best.
The omnibus spending bill funded TPPP with $108 million for fiscal year 2018, but in an effort to effectively reduce teen pregnancy and advance sexual health, such grants will now be attached to abstinence-focused education per the administration. The Hill reports:
In a funding announcement released Friday, the administration announced two tiers of funds for the TPP program.
In the first, grantees would have to follow one of two abstinence programs to receive funding.
One of the programs uses a "sexual risk reduction model," which is designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors.
The other program uses a "sexual risk avoidance model," which teaches teens to avoid sex completely.
In total, tier one will award up to $61 million in funds, ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 per year.
The second tier solicits applications to develop and test "new and innovative strategies" to prevent teen pregnancy while improving adolescent health and addressing "youth sexual risk holistically by focusing on protective factors."
"Projects will clearly communicate that teen sex is a risk behavior for both the physical consequences of pregnancy and sexual transmitted infections; as well as sociological, economic and other related risks," stated the announcement, adding, "Both risk avoidance and risk reduction approaches can and should include skills associated with helping youth delay sex as well as skills to help those youth already engaged in sexual risk to return toward risk-free choices in the future."
An August press release from the HHS claimed that the Obama-era program negatively affected teen behavior and was a waste of taxpayer dollars. "Overall, of the 37 funded and evaluated projects, 73% either had no impact or had a negative impact on teen behavior, with some teens more likely to begin having sex, to engage in unprotected sex, or to become pregnant. Very few positive results were sustained over time," said the report.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates among teens aged 15-19 have been halved since 2007 (Note: TPP began in 2010).